Bender Gallery Hosts “A Clear Choice” Exhibit Through Sept. 25th

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Bender Gallery is excited to present A Clear Choice, a solo exhibition of stunning abstract sculptures by internationally recognized master glass artist Karsten Oaks.

Using specialized optical glass, Oaks creates sculptures that bend light and color through their unique forms. Reminiscent of graffiti marks, his forms which are made with meticulous perfection, are instantly recognizable as his signature style.  When viewing, a discernible object often appears from a momentary perspective creating a vision that allows the viewer to connect on a more personal level with the piece. This mystery inspires a deeply personal relationship between viewer and object and sets Oaks’ work apart from that of his contemporaries. A Clear Choice is on view through September 25, 2022.

It is no secret that Oaks is a highly skilled craftsperson and an expert “coldworker” – someone that works with glass in a solid (cold) state, using special tools to carve, sculpt and polish in order to finish a piece, as a form of adornment on a glass object, or to create solid sculpture in a reductive manner (picture Michelangelo chipping away at a huge block of marble to “expose’ the Pietà). The process is labor intensive, physically demanding, and optical glass is expensive. However, these elements are all necessary to create Oaks’ unique visions.


Oaks transcends his peers in the glass world in that he creates standout sculptural art that is not only beautiful, but filled with contemporary themes, pop culture references, and strong emotions of conflict and discord. Oaks also has a unique approach to color which is added at the end of the process. Oaks explains that the finished form dictates his choice of color which he applies with restraint to strategic planes of the finished sculpture. The results are breathtaking works full of emotion and relevant to contemporary culture. The work is fresh, original, and unlikely to be replicated by other artists.

Born and raised in the suburbs of Minneapolis, Oaks took an interest in the arts at an early age. He started playing music when he was 10 years old and went on to play a variety of instruments. As the son of a trained chef, Oaks grew up learning an appreciation of working with his hands in a creative way and enjoys cooking to this day. When he was 16, a friend introduced Oaks to glassblowing as an art form, and he traveled to Tennessee to take his first classes. This sparked the beginning of Oaks’ love of glass as his chosen medium to express his artistic vision. Oaks received his BFA from The Appalachian School of Craft at Tennessee Technical University. He lives and works in Seattle, WA where he does freelance work for some of the most respected glass masters in the world as well as creates his own amazing singular sculpture.

A virtual tour of the exhibit is available online at

Bender Gallery is located at 29 Biltmore Ave. Visit for additional information.